DEAR ABBY: My wife of eight years, "Pearl," died four months ago. She had complications with her diabetes and was retaining fluid. She died of a heart attack.
Pearl made me promise that if I survived her and found someone special I would go on with my life. Well, I have found that special person. I have been dating a wonderful woman, "Iris." We're now engaged to be married. We're both ready and willing to do this.
My problem is, I'm being judged by my friends, and it has nothing to do with Iris. They don't know her, and I'm afraid they'll never accept her or the fact that I'm in love again. My pastors are also angry with me. I tried telling them how I feel; they don't listen.
I am a Christian man and Iris is a Christian woman. A year is too long to wait. If I'm wrong or selfish, I'll accept it, but I want to be happy. If you see a problem with this, let me know. -- IN LOVE AGAIN
DEAR IN LOVE: You may be misjudging your friends and your pastors. Rather than being angry and judgmental, they may be worried that you're making a mistake. Many legal and mental health experts advise widows and widowers to wait a full year before making any important decisions. Because you aren't sobbing at Pearl's grave doesn't mean that you haven't suffered a loss, and the shock that goes with it.
Enjoy your engagement to Iris. If what you have together is as good as you think, it will only get better during the months to come. Let your friends and clergy get to know her. They're not the enemy; they are concerned about your welfare. My advice to you is to slow down.